Small town kills affordable housing plan after opposition from Dave Chappelle

On Tuesday, the City Council of Yellow Springs, Ohio, voted against his own plan to create affordable housing on 53 acres of land as part of a new development to address the housing shortage on ‘Bernie Sanders Island in the middle of a Trump sea’, as one resident described it from the village. He did so at the request of the town’s most famous and influential resident, Dave Chappelle.

The developer of the project, Oberer Homes, will still be able to develop the land into single-family homes that will probably sell for about $300,000, but not the affordable housing portion of the plan, which one councilor said she spent more than a year negotiating because it would require a zoning change that council did not approve.

Chappelle has been vocal in his opposition to the plan for months, testifying at a board meeting in December that he is “categorically opposed” to the plan and that if passed, he would leave town and take his money with him.

“Obviously I live behind the development, or the proposed development. I have many business interests in town,” he said. “I have invested millions of dollars in the city. If you push this stuff, what I’m investing in is no longer applicable. And Oberer can come buy me all this property if he wants to be your benefactor, because I won’t do that anymore…” And then the audio cut out of his Zoom call.

On Tuesday, at the meeting where the plan was rejected, Chappelle briefly appeared in person, saying, “I’m not bluffing. I’ll take everything off the table.

Chapel plans to open a restaurant and comedy club in Yellow Springs, as well as live comedy shows. He has already received council zoning waivers for these and other business interests. In his public testimony, Chappelle never sets out his exact reasons for opposing the development.

Before Chappelle spoke on Tuesday, Councilor Marianne MacQueen spoke in favor of the project, saying, “I asked, what is it in their business interest that this development is going to hurt? And for the sake of transparency, I would like to know.

Chappelle and other development opponents made vague gestures against corporate anti-development tendencies, but they, perhaps unwittingly, allowed Oberer to do exactly what he originally proposed, namely to build only single-family homes on land he already owns. .

MacQueen pointed out that Oberer purchased land that had been for sale for “decades,” on which he can build single-family homes without needing council approval. It was only Oberer’s desire to be “good neighbours,” she said, that they agreed to an affordable housing component. She said it’s her belief that naysayers like Chappelle plan to put up “roadblocks” to stop Oberer from building the housing estate and then sell the land to “a party that really loves the village.”

But other residents of Yellow Springs, who have a population of approximately 3,800 peoplewho did not support the development sometimes cited Chappelle as one of the reasons.

“I’m one of those people: I saw Chappelle on TV and he said, I live in a place called Yellow Springs – it’s actually Bernie Sanders Island in the middle of a Trump sea. J ‘looked at my partner and said, ‘Let’s go,'” a resident said. “I’m here to say Oberer owns the land, but we can do better, period. There’s obviously many options… I’m here to support the wonderful place of diverse cultural love that I’ve only been to for a few months, but I know because of Dave.

“The elephant in the room is that it seems like no one wants to discuss Mr. Chappelle’s opinion or influence,” said another resident, who attended the meeting virtually. “I remember he mentioned that if we went ahead with this project, he would withdraw his holdings from the village.”

One such resident was Chappelle’s sister, Felicia, who wrote the council a E-mail expressing his opposition to the project and also mentioning his brother’s opposition. While “housing is clearly a solution we seek as a village,” wrote Felicia Chappelle, “timing is a big factor” and supply chain issues will compromise the “craftsmanship and quality” of homes. . She also cited traffic issues, school safety concerns, and other common Not In My Backyard-style opposition concerns.

“We must uphold the legacy of this sacred place on Earth that was full of wealthy abolitionists and humanitarians like Gaunt and Mann,” she wrote. “There’s a lot of information in the Greene County room about the importance we place on YS as influencers. It goes back about 150 years. Hopefully we don’t perpetuate issues of race and class. Where it goes against our core values, these things are unfortunately deeply ingrained in the fiber of Americans. »

She also noted “Mr. Chappelle has invested heavily in our city. It seems like a personal affront to overlook how he influences the positive trajectory of a place in the world that we all hold dear.

There are currently two houses listed on Zillow for sale in Yellow Springs. One is a former wellness retreat converted into a six-bed, seven-bathroom listed for $3.9 million. In the Oberer/municipality plan1.75 acres would have been set aside for the city to further develop affordable housing.

Comments are closed.